Senses Are Meant To Be Employed For Divine Experience
Whatever we are in this birth is as a result of our earlier Karma (balancing good and bad) and the Lord simply follows the rules He Himself has laid down in His disposition. This has been unequivocally established by our great Acharyas drawing from the Vedas and Saasthras. The knowledge that it is only the Lord’s grace that can lift us spiritually (even for material upliftment also, for that matter but we are not discussing this here) is quintessential and one should constantly strive to raise the bar in the quest to keep evolving as a better person. Of course, this is a continuous process and not an end.
For this effort to fructify, one must be in good control over the senses — both the Jnaana Indiriyas and Karma Indriyas. This has been amply dealt with and asserted in various scriptures. The Azhwars and the Acharyas have given to us these things on a platter, so to say, as otherwise it will be difficult for us to learn them from legends. Their unbound compassion towards us has to be realised, marvelled at and made to count.
The body and soul that we are in possession are the courtesy of Lord Sriman Narayana and we must use them primarily at His service. That is why Prapaththi (Saranaagathi) is such a principal tenet of our Sampradaya and a mandatory act. Post-Prapaththi also, our senses have to be employed for the sake of the Lord.
One cannot but wonder how Nammazhwar and Thirumangai Azhwar — the two most prolific Azhwars — have, in one voice, illustrate this. In fact, they have dedicated a decad each in driving home the point in Neel Naagam – Periya Thirumozhi 11-7 and Mudiyaane – Thiruvoymozhi 3-8, respectively.
Kaliyan is assertive that the purpose of our birth and the bestowing of the body to us by the Lord with parts like the eyes, ears, mouth, nose, etc. are only for them to be immersed in His divine experience. In ‘Neel Naagam’, he decries the eyes, etc. which are not employed in experiencing the Lord and declares that they are not worth their names.
The gist of the 10 Paasurams from ‘Neel Naagam’ are given below:
- The eyes of those who do not see the Lord are no eyes at all.
- Those ears which do not hear His glory are no ears at all.
- The words of those who do not speak His glory are no words at all.
- The songs of those who do not sing His praise are no songs at all.
- Those hands which do not worship Him are no hands at all.
- We shall not consider the heart of those who do not think that Thulasi and flowers like lotus are only for Him when they see them, as heart at all.
- The heart of those who are not devoted to the Lord and fail to meditate on Him forever are no heart at all.
- Those who do not contemplate and realise Him are ignorant forever.
- I do not consider those who do not put themselves at His service as men at all.
- Sing this decad and dance praising the glory of the discus-wielding Lord in order to rid of sins.
If Thirumangai Azhwar is categorical in his observation in the above decad, Nammazhwar comes up with an animated personal experience on the subject in ‘Mudiyaane’. Just a while before that, the Azhwar yearns when his eyes will get to see the feet of the Lord who rode the chariot (...அன்று தேர் கடவிய பெருமான் கனைகழல் காண்பது என்று கொல் கண்களே! – Thiruvoymozhi 3-6-10).
The longing grows greater and becomes unbearable as he pours his heart out one decad later. Here goes the outline of the Azhwar’s divine experience in the 11 verses from ‘Mudiyaane’.
- O my Lord, my heart yearns for You.
- O my manikin Lord who took the earth, my mouth (tongue) praises You all the time.
- O protector of cowherds, my hands feel for You.
- O Lord lying on the serpent couch, my eyes are eager to see You.
- O Lord, my ears yearn to hear the rustle of Garuda’s fluttering wings.
- discus-wielding Lord, my soul ceaselessly craves for You.
- O my Lord, my soul, wicked me is unable to see Your beautiful form, despite my call of grief.
- Lord of the three times, when will I see You?
- Bird-riding Lord, when will I attain You?
- O my Lord, How long will I weep here to see Your lotus feet?
- Those who sing this decad will ascend Paramapadham.
These utterances by the Azhwars are meant for us to take a leaf out of their experiences and endeavour to emulate them by pledging our body and soul in service of the Lord. This, while being enjoyable, will be rewarding too.
Meet you in the next Note.
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